There are few places in the world like Fremantle. The streets buzz with the song of buskers, the wide sidewalks are filled with wild collections of art and the main strip on a Sunday is filled with the purring of vintage cars and Harley Davidson engines as they coast past all the quirky shops and cafés found on South Terrace. There is one cafè which I consider special, and one that can only be described as the cornerstone of Fremantle. Ginos café has been in Fremantle for so long that it has earned its reputation as the heart of this vibrant town. Gino’s story is simple:
“I was a tailor, started when I was 6 years old. My father, mother,
all my family tailors. I came from a little village straight to Fremantle.
Fremantle’s the best place to live, the best. I started about 30 years ago
with Sorrento Tailors on the corner here, for twenty two years, tailoring!
Every morning I start at four o’clock. I used to go to the Marina Coffee
Lounge in the morning and I always complain the coffee is no good.
I say, ‘Look, you don’t want to make better coffee, change your
coffee or I open a coffee shop!’ For a joke, then I say to my wife,
‘We ’ re going to Italy for a holiday’. After I arrived over there
I go and look for coffee. I never say anything to anybody.
I come back after six weeks, I put ‘Close Down Sale’ in the
window, close down men’s wear store. My wife she come
down and went crazy!
‘What are you doing there?’
“I want to open a coffee shop; Gino’s”.
My wife, she didn’t want me to do that but I
wanted to do something different.
Twenty-ninth of November it’s eleven years!
now I go through one hundred and fifty kilo of coffee a week.
For thirty two years I’ve been on this corner,
always this corner, and the people, they like my coffee.”
Gino Saccone 1937 – 2001
Like Gino’s story, his café can be described as typically Italian: the menu looks as though it has been designed by a true Italian Mama, the coffee is the “better coffee” that Gino hoped and succeeded in bringing back to Perth, the design and decor is simple and the café has the best view in Fremantle. The food is not always fantastic. You should maybe decide to go with the specials to ensure you aren’t disappointed. However you will not find a better coffee anywhere on the cappuccino strip. Another downside to Ginos is that it isn’t table service – you have to go up to the counter to order. If they changed this, I think it would attract many more customers as some people are put off by this. The restaurant also has a wonderful vibe as it is full of regulars, usually old Italian customers who have been going to Gino’s for over 10 years. Ginos is definitely a place you should visit if you ever go to Freo, maybe even if you just have a coffee at Ginos and you finish with a meal at one of the many other gems hidden in Freo.